Staff not at fault for school kitchen failing inspection

KItchen unit at Rothbury First School with headteacher Dianne Butler.
KItchen unit at Rothbury First School with headteacher Dianne Butler.

A headteacher whose school kitchen was condemned by health inspectors has praised her staff for maintaining excellent standards in deplorable conditions.

Dianne Butler spoke out following the inspection of Rothbury First School’s dining facilities by Northumberland County Council food safety officers, who gave the premises a rating of just one star out of five.

Its kitchen staff, however, were praised for their standard of food hygiene and safety, as well as their record-keeping.

Mrs Butler said: “I was very disappointed with Environmental Health’s low rating for the school. I have re-assured parents that the quality of hygiene for the preparation, cooking and serving of food, and the management systems in place are excellent, which reflects the high standard of work by the staff working in the kitchen.

“The only reason for the low score is entirely to the poor state of the building.”

She added: The school is very focussed on teaching the children about healthy issues and because of this has achieved Healthy School Status and is now working towards the advanced level.”

Robert Famelton, chairman of governors at the school, said: “The recent Ofsted inspection confirmed that healthy living is an outstanding aspect of the school’s teaching and learning which was achieved even though the kitchen and dining facilities are so poor.”

Coun Steven Bridgett wants the dining hall to be rebuilt.